From where I sit, here in my studio sunroom, an amaryllis blooms above me. It sits on the piano grinning broadly at me while I knit, draw, write. It has been there a while, maybe a month or more. For the longest time, an inch of green shoot sat nestled in the loam. I watched impatiently, expecting the little green shoot to sprout up immediately upon watering. It took forever, it seemed, for the stalk and four leaves to reach its current two-foot height, unfurl the three red flags and drape them over so gracefully over the tippy top, to smile at me for days on end.
But now, the cadmium red flags are flagging, folding up their withered smiles one by one. Only a single face remains open, sharing its beauty with me. If this amaryllis could speak of what it’s seen in the relatively short span of its life, it would tell you of page after page of writing, numerous drawings (many of amaryllis herself) and countless stitches in various colors and forms. It has enjoyed beautiful music by my son’s piano hands, sweet conversations with my husband and daughters, sunshine and snow falling all around the windowed room.
Amaryllis has witnessed the ever-changing world of an artist and a family, just as I have witnessed the phases of its life. I recently watched Shall We Dance in which Susan Sarandon’s character says,
”We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness’.”
It struck me as a profound statement of not just marriage, but of friendship and parenting too. In our various communities, whether it be through church, school, work, or a yarn shop, we get to bear witness to others that we see them, acknowledge that they exist, encourage and support the beauty we see blooming in them.
Every word on the page bears witness to all we have seen and heard…this here is worth remembering.
Every stitch loops around a moment in time, gathering in the days as a permanent testament to the stitcher having seen, heard, lived the duration of that particular project.
Every line drawn records all that we experience around us as a witness to the beauty of every day details…the who, what, when, where, why of the phases of a life.
And so I draw Amaryllis, and knit with its colors, and write of all I’ve witnessed through the phases of its brief life. This is artful living: to declare in all our creating, “Your life (whether it be a flower, a place, a person) will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.”
I am grateful for this Artful Life. (*there is an entire category of this subject, Artful Life, if you care to read more on the subject. Look for the category in the right hand margin.The most recent posts are listed first, so scroll down to read earlier ones.)
**I’ve been camping out over on my Knitterly Arts blog…drawing yes, but doing lots of looping around the moments! Join me there too if you like!